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A salute to local soldiers

He added they were in charge of securing the operation center in Basra and maintaining a presence at the prevention joint coordination center.

"Shortly after we got into mission, we realized one of the areas " one of the police districts they were partnering with " was a very dangerous place. A huge insurgent hotbed," said Buxton. "So we went ahead and backed them out of that mission."

The 206th also provided security detail for Buxton over most of Southern Iraq and the airfields he needed to get to.

Twin brothers from Colonie, Staff Sgt.s Anthony and Nicholas Isbro, both 21, said much of their time spent in Iraq was interacting with Iraqi security and civilians.

"At this point in the war, we're trying to give the city back to the Iraqi police," said Nicholas. "So, it wasn't too much actual combat. It wasn't too hectic."

Anthony said it was predominantly a peace-keeping mission and relationship development and added that it was more mentally draining than anything else.

"You guard a gate for an amount of hours at a time," Anthony said. "You didn't want to get too comfortable with your surroundings because at any moment anyone can attack. We always had to stay on guard, and it's very hard when you're sitting around for hours. It was very easy to get relaxed."

When the announcement came for the soldiers that the combat mission in Iraq had ended, the brothers said they were quite happy that the stress of war would be ending and that they could return home to their own beds.

"It was finally a weight off the shoulders," said Anthony. "Every single day, even though it was pretty calm for the most part, you always had that 'What if?' in the back of your mind, like, 'What if something this day is going to happen to either me or one of the guys.'"

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